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Eating sweet treats or skipping your workout may be tempting; however, when it comes to your heart health, you should avoid taking shortcuts that could damage your heart in the long run.

Maintaining a healthy heart begins with understanding how your personal lifestyle choices affect you and your loved ones' heart health.

Smoking, inactivity, and an unbalanced diet all can significantly increase your risks for cardiovascular disease, in addition to other health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

In addition to personally maintaining good heart health, it is important to pass along information, tips and a positive example to children. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and children are not immune from cardiovascular disease, so any healthy lifestyle change must be a family change.

Here are some ways you can begin achieving better heart health for you and your loved ones:

Focus on your long-term heart health for you and your family with these tips.

This article originally appeared in The Ohio State University Medical Center's Heart Newsletter and is published with permission.

Related Resources:

Diet and Nutrition
Exercise and Fitness
Heart Disease
Quit Smoking
Smoking - Tips on How to Quit - MedlinePlus

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Last Reviewed: May 12, 2010

Laxmi S Mehta, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University